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George Simmons (2 May 1785 – 5 March 1858) was a British Army officer who served in the Napoleonic Wars and was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo while serving with the 95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles).

Life and careerEdit

Simmons was born in Beverley, Yorkshire one of nine sons and three daughters. He at first studied medicine but in 1805 was given a commission as an assistant surgeon in the Royal South Lincolnshire Militia as the threat from Napoleon increased. After four years service he transferred to the 1st Battalion of the 95th Rifles as a second-lieutenant since the normal lowest rank of ensign did not exist in the Rifles at that time.[1] He was subsequently promoted to first-lieutenant on 25 July 1811; to captain on 17 April 1828 and to major on 16 February 1838.[2]

Peninsular WarEdit

Wounded at Côa, in 1810 he was present at subsequent clashes in Pombal (1811), Fuentes de Oñoro (1811), Ciudad Rodrigo (1812). Badajoz (1812), Salamanca (1812), Vitoria (1813), Pyrenees (1813), Nivelle (1813), Orthes (1814) and Tarbes where he was once again wounded. [2]

Waterloo CampaignEdit

After fighting at the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815, the following day Simmons spent the night before Waterloo sheltering from the rain under a mud-smeared blanket. On the morning of the 18th he fried his breakfast in the armoured breatsplate of a dead French cuirassier.[3] During the subsequent battle he was shot through the liver, had two ribs broken and took a bullet in the chest.[4] His watch stopped at 4 pm, the time that he was hit.[3]

For his service in the Peninsular and Waterloo Campaigns Simmons received both the Military General Service Medal and the Army Gold Medal, the latter with eight clasps[2] —only the Duke of Wellington, with nine clasps, had more.

He left the army a Battalion Major and died in St. Helier, Jersey on 5 March 1858. There is a memorial tablet in the town's St. Saviors Church erected by his widow and he is named on the Rifle Brigade Memorial in Winchester Cathedral.[4][2]

WorksEdit

Soldier and author Willoughby Verner edited letters that Simmons wrote home during his service in the Peninsular and Waterloo Campaign to produce the 1899 work A British Rifle Man: The Journals and Correspondence of Major George Simmons, Rifle Brigade, During the Peninsular War and the Campaign of Waterloo.

FamilyEdit

Simmons married Anne Corbet, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Le Breton of Bagatelle. The couple had three children, George, Anne Corbet and Francis Eliza.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Verner 1899, pp. xi-xiii.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Bromley & Bromley 2015, p. 278.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kershaw 2014, p. 261.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dalton 1904, p. 200.
Bibliography

External linksEdit

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